Summer, 2002 / No. 8

Eight spears cut in threes, bruise side down set in your shoes

between toes and sole, sock and leather will hold the planter, bind him

your woodsman, the rake to you, his nose to your heel for five days, four

nights & one long walk in any civic park (the kind splattered with sore-red impatiens,

cleomes sticky as rope weed, fleecy, tired dog roses, dull and broken grass lazy flowers

brought in trucks and planted with pole shovels, never touched by gardeners’ hands)

washed in a bowl with lead shavings, frost-fattened currants & coils of hair (his hair)

one year later the leaves stain blue, false ink azure as a gas flame, as wet platinum;

eaten with orange peel and ginger, the leaves taste only of salt, of yellowed skin &

argument and must be chewed & spat out twice, onto newspaper else you’re lost;

wrapped in vine leaves, the mint will kill any houseplant or mouse, anything weak;

but, tied with amber thread, steamed quills, or half a shoelace (his lace) in two bunches

of twelve cuttings & hung from two trees—one bending north, one east—the cures attract

finches, hatchling gulls, maimed crows & burn their pebbly gullets, in sympathy